Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Once in a Lifetime

The bathroom off of our bedroom is small by any standard. You have to stand way back from the door when you're opening it to get out because it swings too close to the sink. I never thought much about it, except for the annoyance of having to stand in the cold puddle of shower drippings in my socks after I had already dressed and dried in order to get out. Yesterday Ali-the-dog was hanging out in our room, which is a rare treat for him because I can't stand dog hair on my bedroom floor, and he ventured into the bathroom to lick the baby clean, then lick the floor clean, then lick the base of the toilet clean. During all the tongue cleaning the baby got bored and went to put some pens in the VCR and Ali was left to himself in the bathroom. Soon, the rest of us were making a mad dash to the car in order to be able to get hot chock-y and lattes before going to look at a house for sale (dump!), and I yelled for Ali to put him out back.

Me: "aaahhhhhllllllleeeeee! ali! ALI!"
Some Unknown Thing: *scramble, scramble* *scratch, scratch*
Some Unknown Thing, Which May Have Been In The Vicinity Of My Bedroom: *SCRATCH-SCRATCH-SCRATCH-SCRATCH*
Me: grumble-swear-dammit-grumble "COMERIGHTNOWORYOUARESOFUCKINGDEAD!"
Ali: "YELP!!!!!!!!!!"

So I ran back to the bedroom and Ali, in his ecstasy at being summoned with or without the foul language, had ran out of the bathroom with the door partially open and wedged his neck between the door and sink cabinet. The harder he tried to push forward, the more he strangled himself. I swear, if I hadn't had the I'm-gonna-kill-this-fuckin-dog look on my face when I ran into the back room, which immediately caused him to shrink away in fear, he would have pinched his goddamn head off. Of course then I felt terrible and I pet him and loved on him a little before kicking him to the curb. Had to get that latte you know.

Well, payback, if that's the proper term in this scenario, is a bee-yahtch, and I when I came home later and ran into our bathroom to unload the latte I stepped square into Something Indescribable. Otherworldy, you might say. Apparently in his fright and near-death-by-bathroom-door-strangulation experience Ali emptied his anal gland all over the bathroom floor. And my one almost-clean sportsbra. And a comb. That is by far and away the worst thing I have ever smelled in my life. I'm gagging right now. I thought the smell of my armpit after the combination of college finals and a 6-hour plane ride was bad. Ho-ho-ho, that shit was delicious compared to this. So I left it to show Jim. Because really, that was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I wouldn't want to deprive him. Of the experience, you know.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Tragedy is tragedy, and my vocabulary issues should not be an issue, but...

Does the word 'charity' make you sneer a little? If a friend gave you a box of cute clothes that fit you perfectly, but then you overheard her telling someone she gave the box to charity would you bristle and delete her name from your speed dial list? I didn't want to write about my aversion to hand-outs, or more specifically the concept of charity. I wanted to talk about how difficult it's been for the world to recover from all the recent natural disasters and how war-torn countries aren't getting front-page publicity they should, but I looked up 'giving hangover' and every website had some reference to 'charity' in it. And I got a bad taste in my mouth. Any other word, assistance, aid, help, support, all these would be fine. In fact, when I've donated to the Red Cross lately, aid is the word I think of. But if a see a panhandler, I think 'charity.' The concept of 5100 people dying in Indonesia made me cry last night. But that's what it was - a concept. Even with the gruesome pictures, I still couldn't relate - taste, touch, smell, the suffering. It's the same here. The concept of hunger in America is frightening: one in ten households experience hunger or the risk of hunger in our country. And so when the Missoula food bank comes around collecting cans I give them the good stuff - not just the unused pumpkin pie mix and lima beans. But if I see a haggard man panhandling by the freeway on-ramp I pretend I'm looking for something in my purse.

I hear charity and I think, can't get off his lazy butt. I hear aid and I think, helping a blighted village get a leg up. Is it just symantics, or does it have something to do with my ability to empathize with my fellow man at the most personal level.

Before this degenerates into a completely self-absorbed discussion of how I approach charitable contributions, please visit here and do what you can to assist this ravaged area with its recovery efforts. Regardless of how I feel about one-on-one interactions with people in need, doing nothing is not okay.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Are you wondering about the Concoction?

Yeah, sorry bout that. I won't tell you why I couldn't do it, and it will be a big mystery, and that will force you to imagine all manners of wonderful things that could be going on in my life, and that feeling of empathetic wonderment will take the place of the nirvana you typically experience while reading The Friday Concoction. You're welcome.

We're going to a wedding tomorrow in Big Timber... I'll wait a minute, if you feel like Mapquesting... hmmm hmmm hmmm... ok, got it? Please send me the link. I have no idea where this place is, only that we need to rent 4 movies for Madeleine. And don't tsk-tsk me for drugging her with Disney, because have you ever traveled with Madeleine? She makes life a special kind of hell reserved for people that are too sanctimonious and mother-earth-lovin-crunchy to spend $80 on a portable DVD player and $25 on Finding Nemo ($3 for rental, $22 in late fees). I used to be both and I may be damaged goods now, having suffered through 3 years of road-trips without the DVD player.

So let's play a game... tell me 1 thing you're doing this weekend, 1 thing you wish were doing this weekend, and 1 thing you would be doing this weekend if you were Katie Holmes.

Love and buds and stuff,

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I said I would...

Stella said it was my turn and I said okay. (Sort of related tidbit: when I was growing up my family held sacred the words "I promise." Do you know how comforting it is as a kid, when you have something that holds such power - as in "Do you promise you didn't take my Kewpie doll?" - and you can trust the individual using it without question?)

A MeMe, wherein I am required to finish a bunch of sentences...

I am 5'5 and 5/8" and about 20 pounds over what I want to be. The former has bugged me my whole life, the latter has crippled me for the last year.

I want coffee. We're out of filters.

I wish people I love and that are close to me wouldn't be critical of their weight, because this makes me question my relatively relaxed feeling about my own body.

I hate Wal-Mart. But Target is my boyfriend.

I miss Portland. It's a gorgeous city. When we lived there my oldest brother and his family lived around the corner from us and we had insta-friends and entertainment. I also miss that. I also miss a green sweater I had in college with a #16 sewn on the upper left shoulder.

I fear that I will blink and suddenly be old. Oh, it's happening already...

I hear Madeleine practicing trilling her r's. Does it sound cute? It's really irritating.

I wonder if I want to move because I'm bored with the life I've created for myself.

I regret writing that last sentence. I don't want to give legs to that thought. No! I love my life! It's the awesomest best life ever to be created by me!

I am not good at saying goodbye or expressing sympathy or being a gracious loser.

I dance dirty. As if I'm on MTV's The Grind. It's the only way I know how.

I sing constantly, all the time and always. And loudly.

I cry when I hear about bad things happening to children. Mitch's post about her dead tadpole made me cry a little. I also cry when I'm angry and it's so humiliating.

I am not always happy, but who is? I don't want to know those people. And I have a hard time telling people that I'm not happy. Because I don't always want to be cheered up either.

I make relatively little noise. Except for the singing, we have a very quiet house. I also make really good coffee cake and chocolate crinkle cookies.

I write less than I want to. I think I have potential but am a little afraid to test this theory.

I confuse boredom with hunger.

I need to be motivated by competition. If there were a writing contest in town, I would crack my knuckles and get after it. I know, this is wrong in so many ways.

I should not say 'should.' The word pisses me off and instantly makes me do the opposite. If the word enters my mind, I feel like growling.

I start very few new projects, because...

I finish almost everything I start and I don't want to start something that will be too hard to finish. Like this thing. It was a lot harder than it looks. And I even did a half-assed job.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


Saturday morning we woke to the sound of a heavy driving rain and thunder. So of course we decided to go camping. We bought a pop-up camper about this time last year and Quinn celebrated his 1 month birthday wrapped in wool blankets as it snowed on our campfire. When I was a kid we had a decked-out van with carpet and wood paneling that we'd take camping on the Oregon coast. It was groovy. And damp. Always damp. Anyway, through the years Jim and I have finally assembled a comfortable collection of camping paraphanelia that allow us to eat and sleep well while communing with nature. But then two kids come along and a two-person tent feels like a mosh pit full of toddlers. And changing diapers in the dirt is great fun for me until I have to dig pine needles out of Pooey's bung-holio. So there have been some changes.

Last year we were driving around Missoula on a nice Saturday and as we cruised through the RV and used-car section of Broadway we were startled out of our 18-pancake breakfast coma by a vision in white and black. It was The Baja. We've all seen pop-up campers, right? They look a little like folding card tables on wheels. And when popped up they look like an adult teeter-totter. But not The Baja. Oh my holy shit The Baja is COOL! It's got huge meat tires, nickle-plating accents, a sink, stove, table and sleeps 8! When popped up it's got a queen bed on one side and a king on the other and it has a CD player! We bought it within an hour and were soon cruising around town with the behemoth behind our pickup. And now we camp like 50-year-old retirees.

Our trip this weekend was a quickie. Jim bought a Gazetteer, which is an intricately detailed map of every square inch of Montana. I'm not sure if he's shaved in a week, because I've only seen the top of his head and occassionally his eyebrows over the top of this giant map book. He picked out a spot in the Seeley-Swan valley and we were on our way in less than 2 hours. Are you slack-jawed at the thought? You should be. It takes 2 hours to prepare for a trip to Target sometimes.

The first camp spot we found was near perfect. It was next to a river, but not too close so that children would have to be tethered to trees, but close enough for nice hikes and perfect background noise. We decided to investigate the area before pulling The Baja into position, and it was then we noticed a car parked on a side road adjacent to our spot. It was a mini-truck. I loathe mini-trucks. I believe the child molester manual actually requires the purchase of late-model mini-trucks before admission to the club is granted. So when I saw this mini-truck I shivered and suggested to Jim we walk by to see if the owner was going to be camping or just fishing for the afternoon. Keep in mind, we are in the middle of fucking nowhere. Dense forest, no civilization kind-of nowhere. The closer we got to the truck the more my hackles raised. It was dark blue and loaded to the roof with shit. Belongings of indescriminate shape and origin. Thankfully, it looked to be empty of people, but still Madeleine, apparently sensing my unease, jumped into my arms as we neared the truck from the back. As we passed close by the passenger side, we had to brush against the door because of the dense brush next to the overgrown road, I nearly screamed. A man was reclined all the way back in the driver's seat and he may have been dead. Or a monster. His face was distorted and mottled, mouth wide open. He was dirty and decayed. It was a vision I won't forget for a long while. Our state has an issue with meth addiction, and this man was the face of the problem. In addition to sick and disgusting, there was something evil about him. It was a terrifying moment. I worried his eyes would pop open and he would spring from his seat and race after us and our children. But he didn't. Jim had passed by right next to his window and when we joined up again after passing his truck, we exchanged sickened looks, and immediately hightailed it back to our truck and The Baja. Jim's hand never left the bear spray at his hip the whole way back.

The rest of the weekend passed as it should have, thankfully. We drove another 20 miles up a beautiful drainage and found a gorgeous spot next to a trail head. I can't say I slept well that night, but was at least comforted by the fact that I have a healthy and capable partner with a gun and bear spray sleeping next to us. I keep checking the paper to see if a dead man was found in the Seeley-Swan over the weekend.

Camping and Hiking

Wild stuff (in order: bear print, mountain goat I never saw, elk way off in the distance, loud brave bird, another bear paw)



Sunday, May 21, 2006

I take it back.

Remember last Friday when I listed all those bands I didn't like but felt I was supposed to? Well, I stand corrected. And how.

Stella commented with this link to a Sarah McLachlan video that you really need to watch. I finally did, and thanks Stella, that was really something. Please watch it.

(We went camping this weekend. I still stink like campfire and elk jerkey and there's a small army of dirty clothes walking around by themselves in the basement messing up all the Christmas ornaments. Be back Tuesday with pictures and an almost-scary story about Matthew the Meth-head. Also, are s'mores not the biggest pain in the ass to eat or what?)

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Friday Concoction

You know what I hate? When a band that you think is boring and only good for G-rated movie soundtracks becomes suddenly brilliant and innovative in retrospect. Like the Beatles. Well, maybe not those guys. But The Beach Boys. The whole do-whop, talking about surfing and cars and stuff. I will not join in the canonization of Brian Wilson. This paragraph would be a lot longer if I could think of another band that bothers me in this way. Instead let's talk about more bands that I feel like I should like but don't: The Who, Sarah Mcglaughlin, String Cheese Incident (sorry Teebs), Lauryn Hill all by herself without Wyclef and Pras, Mozart (too plinky), Tom Waits (I've tried A LOT!). Okay, that's enough sentences.

I said a couple days ago that Madeleine and I are reading Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of NIMH. My mom read it to my brothers and me ages ago, and I remember it being about rats and Mrs. Frisbee. I didn't remember much about the Nimh part. But whoa. The rats escaped this place they called NIMH, which is actually a laboratory conducting experiments to increase the intelligence of rats by altering their DNA, and are trying to literally build their own utopia complete with machinery, electricity and plumbing and everything. I mean it's a crazy story! I thought it was going to be all Narnia-y because they're both strange words that start with N. Now in my mind I want to say Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of N-I-M-H. Because it's not nim, it's En Eye Em Aitch!

Links and Asundry

  • "People that are really very weird can get into sensitive positions and have a tremendous impact on history." --Dan Quayle
  • I was actually enjoying the idea of quite a few of these re-mixed wedgies from the '40s, until I came to the Open-Toe Spectaters. Please avert your eyes to that portion of the website.
  • My BFF and one-and-only bridesmaid Janet gave me a gorgeous sea glass wrist cuff as a wedding gift, and it perfectly matched my wedding dress. Her friend had made it, and I still cherish it. I was just looking for a necklace or pair of earrings in a similar style and found this. It is EXACTLY the same as my cuff. Isn't it awesome?
  • This list isn't adding much to your day, is it?
  • I saw this young girl comment somewhere and bookmarked her page because if this doesn't bring you back, you were in a coma until you could vote. It wasn't me, but it was the girl that sat in front of me in Traffic Safety.
  • I have had my ears pierced for about 1 year and have lost 1 of every pair of earrings I've bought in that year. So I give you these pretty-prettys. Or I should say, please give me these pretty-prettys. I like the Chic Bounce. These are okay too.

The Then'n'Now section is just Then today. I was going through pictures and found a collection from our Before Kids days when we lived a stone's throw from the Flathead River in Kalispell. To quote our buddy, Mr. Big, it was killer glass, dude. Meaning the water was flat, slow, and buttery. We wakeboarded a lot. We were young. It was fun.

Now both doggies are gone, Mr. Big is a gay (if you can't tell from the flair with which he wakeboards) accountant and lives in Columbus, I can't fit into those clothes, and Jim's biceps still haven't seen the sun ...

Me (I'm going for a little half-assed grab here - I thought I was cool as shit):

Doggies (George is the lab, he died of bone cancer almost 3 years ago. Scooter is the Karelian Bear dog. She ran away right after we moved to Missoula and is probably the iron-fisted leader of some pack of wolves somewhere. She was some bitch.)

Jim (He's looking worried because I'm driving the boat and had a tendency to overlook driftwood.)

Mr. Big (See what I mean? About the flair? Nice Method.)

Belated Writin Wednesday

I'm all kinds of jacked up this week. Babysitter's gone for 3 weeks, Jim's gone for 3 days, it's been 90 day-grees the last few days and I think I've got The Fever. You give me fever. Oh yeah, fever all through the night. That song's hot. ha ha ha. See? See how jacked up? It's just downright embarrassing.

Madeleine's playing with her monstrous collection of ponies right now and apparently two of them are having a fight. Here is the transcription:

[Ligats and Zell are leading a line of 30 to 100 ponies through the Valley of Death]

Ligats: "Come on! We gotta get out of here! We're lost."
Zell: "No we're not. Let's just stay together and do the right thing. Hey! You two in the back, quit fighting!"

[grabs two brown ponies with black tails named Bambi and Merno]

Bambi: "Leave me alone, you bunzy!"
Merno: "You're a bunzy!"
Bambi: "Twig tail!"
Merno: "Big legs!"
Bambi: "Twisty neck!"
Merno: "Narrow average back!"
Bambi: "That wasn't very nice."
Merno: "I know, I'm sorry."
Bambi: "That's okay. Help me with my fishing pole."

Now where she gets that kind of language, I'm not sure, but we're going to have to have a talk with her preschool teacher. We just can't have that in this house.

Here's my Writin from last night:

Randy's a Baby

Me and Randy got caught cussin on the jungle gym today. Prissface told on us. I hate her. The Principal said she wouldn’t call my mom or Randy’s parents if we went straight to our class and told Mrs. Dolan. And then before we were even around the corner to B-Hall Randy was snuffing. So I walked faster. Randy’s rain boots were kalumping and my tennis shoes were squeaky and squishy sounding. The hall was real quiet like when you get a hall pass to go to the bathroom. But it was different kind of. Usually you can hear talking in the other classes. Today it was real empty because I was walking down an empty hall and didn’t have no pass. I could run if I wanted to. I could even litter. It must be how teachers feel when they walk down the hall because hey can do whatever they want, teachers can.

I decided then and turned around fast to Randy who was so slow. “We just won’t tell. We don’t have to.”

And you know what, he was way back by the 2nd graders room. “What?” He kind of hopped to go faster. Boy his boots were too big. I turned back around and walked and he grabbed my sleeve and whispered, “Whadda you mean not tell? Mrs. Winkler said go straight to our room and tell Mrs. Dolan! I don’t want to get in trouble. My dad, he’s – he’ll – we’d get in big trouble!” he said.

He’s short like me and his breath smelled like peanut butter and it was right in my face. He wiped his nose on his arm and it made a shiny streak on his cheek.

Anyway we didn’t have to whisper because there was nobody. “Listen,” I said and I could tell he was listening real good, “Mrs. Dolan will never know. We’ll just go in and do Lippencot like nothins wrong.”

I pulled my arm away and stared at him hard, seeing if he’d say anything, but he didn’t. He just breathed at me with all that peanut butter so we went into the classroom and acted extra normal, even though there were ten minutes left of recess and Randy hated the Lippencot reader. Mrs. Dolan just watched us, kinda smilling. See, I had fixed everything and when Randy passed me a note later during times tables I checked the No box because I won’t go with him anymore. He’s a baby.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Sorry, phoning it in... but I actually like this list and I do whatever Arabella tells me to. (In my mind I say, "On the advice of my counsel..." beforehand. Like On the advice of my counsel I'm going to get Jim to bbq a pork loin this weekend. Try it, it's fun...)

Buncha Questions MeMe

1. First name? Did you think I made up Mignon?
2. Were you named after anyone? No, but it means cute in French. Old guys love it when I tell them that. Everyone else nods and internally rolls their eyes.
3. Do you wish on stars? Yep, and eyelashes, hay trucks, all-the-same digits on a clock, ... I'm sure there are more
4. When did you last cry? This afternoon when a bug flew in my eye.
5. Do you like your handwriting? Yes, all caps, all the time.
6. What is your favorite lunch meat?tuna
7. When is your birthday? The day Elvis died. And the same day as Frank AND Kathie Lee Gifford... coincidence? I think not.
8. What is your most embarrassing CD? Does the fact that I have 3 copies of Coolio's Gangsta's Paradise count?
9. If you were another person would you be friends with you? Probably not. Sometimes I get on my own last nerve.
10. Do you have a journal? I have 4 or 5 separate writing journals. They're all basically empty.
12. Would you bungee jump? No. I'm scared of heights.
13. What is your favorite cereal? Ahh... so little time to answer this... I could eat cereal every meal of every day. For breakfast Cheerios and Grape-Nuts together. For lunch Crispix. For snack Lucky Charms. For dinner Kashi shredded wheat.
14. Do you untie your shoes when you take them off? Never.
15. Do you think that you are strong? Yes. Except when it comes to hearing bad news.
16. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Tillamook Brown Cow. All others bow to it. Actually I don't like any other kind of ice cream than that.
17. Shoe Size? 8.
18. Red or pink? For what? Polish? Pink. Clothing? Red. The color of my gums? That's private.
19. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? Short attention span.
20. Who do you miss the most? My gramma NeeNee. I wanted to know her as an adult.
21. Do you want everyone you send this to to send it back? Yes! I love getting mail! Huh?
22. What color pants and shoes are you wearing? soccer shorts and bare feet. It was 90 today.
23. Last thing you ate? Lime popsicle
24. What are you listening to right now? The humidifier. None of us can sleep without it.
25. If you were a crayon what color would you be? I'd never be a crayon. I'd be a blood red Sharpie.
26. Who was the last person you talked to on the phone? A neighbor lady asking me if I could play Bunko tonight. Nope - had a date with some popsicles and babies.
27. Fingers or toes? Fingers. I love holding hands, but Jim and I both have big hands and it cuts off our circulation.
28. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? I really have no idea. Understated confidence maybe?
29. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Hell yes!
30. Favorite Drink? Beer: Bridgeport IPA, Licker: whiskey sour, Asundry: coffee from a press with lotsa cream and sugar
31. Favorite Sport? Football. I could play or watch all day.
32. Hair Color? Brownish.
33. Favorite office supply item? Ahhh the whole luvin lot of it. I should work at Staples, but they might fire me for running through the aisles naked and rolling around in the bulk ballpoint bins.
34. Do you wear contacts? No.
35. Favorite Food? Besides cereal? Mangoes and hot brownies and hot dogs.
36. Last Movie You Watched? That one with Tom Arnold and Maggie Gyllenhaal. I liked it.
37. Favorite Day Of The Year?New Years? Sounds good.
38. Scary Movies Or Happy Endings? Neither. I don't like to be scared. But I like cliffhangers.
39. Summer or winter? Both.
40. Hugs or Kisses? kisses
41. Favorite dessert? My brain just froze in mental ecstasy. Anything with lots of whipped cream. Maybe just whipped cream.
42. What's On Your Mouse Pad? An overhead B&W picture of a football game.
43. What Did You Watch Last night on TV? Grey's Anatomy. Did anyone not?
44. Favorite Smells? Baby heads. The ocean.
45. Favorite Sounds? The humidifier. If I can hear it, it means everyone's asleep.
46. Stones or Beatles? Beatles.
47. What's the furthest you've been from home? What's farther Singapore or Italy?
48. What books are you reading? David Sedaris' Naked and Mrs. Frisbee and the Rats of Nymh with Madeleine. I'm actually enjoying the latter more. It's amazingly well-written.

Well, that was fun! Let's see... how about Debbie and Gradual Gardner (I'm lobbing you this one because you clearly need to tell us all you're still amongst the living).

Monday, May 15, 2006

A brief history.

Sometimes I think life would be a lot easier if I believed in God. I was watching Grey's Anatomy last night and Denny The Heart Patient was saying he wasn't worried about dying because he believed in heaven and so there. And I thought Hey! Why don't I believe in heaven too? Because I just don't. You can blame it all on Tracy, my short-lived best friend in 8th grade.

I grew up going to church almost every Sunday. Lutheran church. When my mom and brothers and I lived in Eugene, the service, as I recall, was conducted from a kind-of Preacher Island loaded with randomly scattered candles and pulpits and flotsam (it's a little fuzzy - I was only 5). The congregation was spread out around this island on folding chairs and there was a lot of singing and merriment and cookies and hippies. Awesome. It almost all made up for the fact that my mom made us wear Lederhosen every weekend, which gradually became stiff with sweat, grass-stains and spilled grape juice. It was a real sense of community, and that feeling persisted with the churches we attended in Goldendale, Storrs and for a short while, Kelso.

Then one afternoon during lunch in eigth grade Tracy invited me to her sleepover birthday party. It was going to be a special occasion, because we would all be going to church with her the next morning, and could we please okay that with our parents? I was a little confused by the focus with which the church part of the sleepover received. Who cared about church, were we going to be able to run down the road to see the boys that lived at the end of her street? Yes, it turned out, we were! Church was forgotten until that Sunday morning, when we all woke up bleary-eyed and cotton-mouthed from too many Smarties. We were asked to circle up and pray for the sinners of the world over our morning cereal. Even that didn't really phase me - it's not like praying was foreign, just usually done in private when I wanted Chris Parker to notice me or I really wanted it to snow.

Church, it turned out, was the Longview Assembly of God. I'm not up on my religious vocab, but these people are the book-burners, gay-haters, talkers-in-tongue, and hell-fire and damnation hooligans. In fact, Tracy's dad was leading the charge to ban Huck Finn from out junior high library. We saw it all that morning during that 4-hour service. As I was sitting up in the bleacher seating in that enormous concert hall of a church, I changed. When, for the 20th time, the screaming preacher told me what I sinner I was and how evil all non-believers are I just woke up. It was as if I were riding in a car, watching the scenery run by, tree after tree after tree, then Bam! the ocean appeared. I remember snorting. Tracy's mom was next to me, and the noise and clammer of people yelling out in tongues had actually died down for a moment as they dunked someone in a giant fishtank to keep them from going to hell, and she heard me. I know she did. She looked sharply at me, and I smirked and snorted again. On purpose, because she suddenly seemed so simple-minded. I smirked and in my mind I was mocking her, and she knew it. I never stayed the night at Tracy's house again. In fact, I don't think I ever even ate lunch with her again.

A few weeks after the sleepover my mom asked if I could help teach Sunday school and I said no. I said I wouldn't be going back to church anymore. It made me sad, because I knew I was disappointing her and I really did enjoy the community of people, but all I could think of was how ridiculous and contrived the whole thing was. That feeling of mocking and ridicule stayed with me for a long time. I just couldn't shake the feeling that the whole thing was so hypocritical and made-up. Sure Jesus existed, but he is the son of God? John Smith said the same thing. There was a guy outside Safeway every Saturday that said the same thing too. Boy, God gets around! And the biblical stories? Uh-uh. I was 13-years-old and I knew it all.

But that's changed. I still don't believe in God, but I don't judge people that do. I think Jesus was a great man, one to be admired, studied and emulated. I think Muhammed and Buddha were great men too. They help a lot of people in ways that I can't imagine. AA is based on the belief in God (isn't it?) and I would never EVER point fingers at that institution as hypocritical or wrong. I still admire the sense of community created by churches, I just can't go back. I can't force myself to believe something I don't.

Sometimes I wish I did, though. Just so I could tell my babies that's where we're going to be someday, instead of in a dark muddy hole in the ground. I think that's where it all came from. A mom trying to protect her babies from sadness. I've decided I'll let Madeleine and Quinn decide for themselves. If believing in God makes them happy, that's what I want for them. Me? I just get to sleep in on Sunday.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday Concoction

Jim and I like to play this game if we're people-watchin. He'll say, "Hey look! There's Dabney Coleman!" And I'll say, "Yes and look he's getting a parking ticket from Roseanne." You know, witty banter back and forth like that. Only it's not as much fun in Missoula because how many clever comments can you make about seeing Santa Clause and Jerry Garcia? It's like a mobile wax museum of Greatest Musicians of the 70's up in here. Except on the college campus, where it's all O.C., all the time. Please can I see your ass crack? Thank you, thank you, thank you, ew, no thank you... and so on. I'm sure at some point the pendulum will swing away from low-rise jeans, but I guess we're going to have to wait for all the puny twenty-somethings to get fat, and only then will Gap bring back the mu-mu. Then all of the left-over clothes will get sent to impoverished countries in sub-saharan Africa, which will effectively slow the population growth to a crawl with the ugliness of it all because they don't have those clever Gap ads with Sarah Jessica Parker telling them that ass-crack is cool, and finally they'll be all like, "What the hell? America used to send us the hats and t-shirts from the second place team at the Superbowl and now all of a sudden we're getting jeans that are only half finished? America sucks! Take all these obscene clothes back to Kelly Ripa right away!" And then Kelly Ripa would be forced to show her ass-crack the rest of her life, which probably wouldn't be much of a punishment after all.

So I think Quinn is weaned. It wasn't hard. I mean the weaning wasn't too hard. My right boobie is as hard as a rock. I'm pretending it's augmented with something other than milk and took the opportunity to do a little pole dancing last night. It has slightly less appeal when just one boob is augmented and the other one is a sad, empty reminder of what used to be. And pole dancing in my soccer shorts with a broom handle to Ray of Light isn't quit as sexy as it sounds. Okay then... on to the concoction...

Links and Asundry

  • Isn't it sad that our kids will never go to drive-in theatres? Isn't it sad that the last movie I ever saw at a drive-in was Operation Dumbo Drop. When I was 23. And not high or drunk.
  • I read yesterday that the Iraq war bill is now equal to what was projected as the total cost of funding the Kyoto Protocol. Now it's not entirely fair to compare the two, but it is interesting to note that Bush rejected participating in the Protocal because he said the cost would cause "serious harm to the U.S. economy."
  • I use this as inspiration to eat directly from the tub of real whipped cream left over from Quinn's cake. I sure hope they're on their way into a hospital.
  • It seems like I would mix up Jack Black with Jack White, but I don't. Really, one's just a bloated funnier version of the other, don't you think?
  • And now, the token pretty-pretty (and reasonably priced, don't ya think?) and because it's about that time.

Then the subject of my first erotic dream - he kissed me on the cheek as we were driving together in our giant Ford van to go to the bookmobile (in my dream he had on that hunky beige uniform)...

Now the subject of last night's erotic dream - I need not say that with a toddler in bed with us, dreams become very important in remembering what parts do what and go where...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This is not a two-way street. It's a 6 lane one-way.

We're going to have a big Mothers' Day bbq on Saturday with a bunch of friends and Jim's Family. I wanted to do it on The Day Designated By Hallmark, but apparently Jim's Family is already gathering at the appointed place and at the appointed time on that day. When I was inviting a friend on the phone last night, I mentioned this scheduling quandry and said, in a not-unkind voice, that Jim's Family treats Mothers' Day like Easter. And he got mad. And defensive. And stormed off and banged some of the pots around the sink as he was cleaning up the dinner dishes. Um, honey, did I buy you that estrogen-flavored Tom's of Maine toothpaste on accident? I meant to get Cinnamint - sorry.

I know I was all Sheesh! Boys! a couple posts ago, but Sheesh! Boys! and their mommy-attachment! Or is it just my Boy? If Jim wants to make fun of my family, I happily join in. Ha-ha isn't my mom crazy for breaking all of our kitchen appliances when she comes to visit (remember the coffee maker/oven drawer/toaster, Mom?). Har-har, Damon was such an asshole when he first got that job where he was boss of everyone. Hee-hee Carson is the slowest person on earth and may have some kind of getting-dressed-in-a-timely-fashion disorder. But woe-is-me if I even question his parents' use of margarine in place of butter for dunking crab legs. Woe. (I know, MARGARINE?? I may have spoke of this already, but I'm still stunned.)

Am I brainwashing the baby already? Is he already conditioned to change the subject if it comes up that I let him fall off the bed three times. Well wait a minute... maybe that isn't such a bad thing.

Update: Oh I forgot - lookee, I got my haircut! It's short and sticky-uppy. Looks a little like wet grass after it's been stepped on, normally. It's especially sticky-uppy in this picture because I've been writing, and I'm a hair fiddler when I'm thinking. You should see the grease-pile on my head after a big test. You could fry an egg. If my head was really hot.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Pooey!

A year ago at this moment Jim and I were chillin in the birthing room at Community Hospital. I think by now the first showing of a marathon "Remaking Vanilla Ice" was on and the potosin wasn't doing anything except fill my tiny bladder with pee. The show didn't get on the proverbial road until about 4:00 and Quinn didn't shoot out in blaze of glory until 6:00. There was a lot of waiting, then a flurry of excitement, then my 9 lb baby boy finally joined his impatient family. My mom was in town with her adoring husband Jan, and they were called in the middle of a sushi dinner with Madeleine to come quick and see baby Quinn. Madeleine immediately fell in love with the big lug. She was apoplectic with excitement and kissed and carressed him repeatedly. My too-little, too-late epidural took a long time to wear off, and when it finally did, everyone had (thankfully) headed home to rest and talk about baby Pooey. So, alone, I padded down to the baby center to give my big baby boy the once-over and listen to the pediatric nurses coo over him. When I got there, there were three babies. One was crying pitifully and apparently couldn't get comfy in her burrito wrap, the other was sleeping quietly and the behemoth in the middle was Quinn. He stared at me with his enormous black eyes and said, "Get me the fuck outta here, that bitch won't shut up!" Or at least, that's what it seemed like. He has very expressive eyes.

Today Quinn is still a big-eyed lug that charms everyone he sees with his witty banter. "UH" That's his catch-phrase. It is the all-meaning Om to our little Buddha. He can throw around an UH! in any context and it's either rife with angst, full of joy or sharply inquisitive. It is his everything.

The four of us will be gathering in celebration at around 5 tonight. Madeleine is convinced we are going to sculpt a dog/cat figure out of angel food cake this afternoon and she has decided to write "Woof Pooey Happy Birthday, Meow Woogie we love you." She's been practicing. She also decided Little Woogers needs some baby chicks and a pony. The grand finale will be a bath, after Pooey's been allowed to immerse himself in his cake. He loves bathers with his big sis.

Happy birthday, Quinn. To quote your sister, "I love you as much as a heart can love something."

Monday, May 08, 2006

Caution, teen-age boy talk contained herein. I mean CAUTION!

Jim's cousin was here last night. DJ. Donald James. Jim is James Donald. Isn't that cute? I'm glad I got the J-first one. The other morning we were all lounging in bed and Madeleine wanted to talk about our middle names. Mine's Page. Hers is my grandma's name - a pretty, old-fashioned name. Quinn's is my mom's maiden name - an interesting English surname. Tiny knows all those, but then she sat up and looked at Jim and said, "But Daddy, what's yours?" He told her. And she snorted. Snorted like a teenager at something dumb her dad just said! "HA! Like the duck!" she says. Jim covered his eyes with his hands and said, "Oh my God. Visions of junior, coming back to haunt me."

Jim, #28

Me, bottom row, 4th from left

So with DJ here last night we pulled out Jim's old junior high annual and I had a chance to see what I married, up-close and personal. I don't mean Who I married. What I married. Here's a sample of what our friends chose to write in our yearbooks as we parted ways for the summer:

  • Mine: "Mignon - Have a great summer. Hope we'll be in the same homeroom next year. Julie"

  • Jim's: "To a rad wrestler, Have a great summer! Eat lots of pussy! Travis"

  • Mine: "Mignon, Have a wild summer with lots of fun. Keep playing basketball! Christian"

  • Jim's: "Jim, Thanks for being a friend and keep your dick away from those girls, Tony"

  • Mine: "Mignon, I'm glad I got to know you this year because you are a very nice person. Have a nice summer! Sandy"

  • Jim's: "Jim, We no you want anus but If you can help it get cunt!! Waldo"

  • Mine: "Mignon, Have a great summer and see ya next year! David"

  • Jim's: "Don't worry bud! Someday you'll get pubic hair on your balls. Good luck, Steve"

  • Mine: "Dear Mignon, You have and will be a great friend. Have a great summer. I'll see you next year, Rakhi"

  • Jim's: "Roses are red, violets are blue, I've got a big cock and I guess you do too. Rob"

  • Mine: "Mignon, Have a great summer, and chill out. Jesse - P.S. Don't party too much!"

Speechless? It's like coming to the realization that your boyfriend poops. But different. SO SO different. I imagine on the last day of school, I ran home, yearbook open, arms outstretched to show my mom how many friends I have and how nice they all are. I imagine Jim ran home, yearbook rolled up and tucked away in his back, he grabs the jar of vaseline from his nightstand and heads for the bathroom...

Boys. You can only hope they wash their hands afterwards...

Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday Concoction

Last night Jim was gone, which usually spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E, in the form of me eating an entire baguette dunked in cheesey/oily condiments and the kids being naked and staying up all night long eating raw sugar in front of Jerry Springer. But not this time! We went for a long walk to get dinner and a movie and there were no tears or empty threats. Madeleine's dinner consisted of more than 1 color food and I didn't eat until I wanted to vomit. Then the kids went to bed with clean teeth and only a few remnants of dinner in their hair and I got to watch the end of Missing. Wait, is that it? With Anthony LaPaglia? Even though he has no lips, I like him. I guess Harvey Keitel doesn't have lips and I had naughty dreams about him for ages after The Piano, so to hell with lips! Who needs 'em?

Jim decided a huge yard for growing The Giant Pumpkin was not a requirement, so the heat is on now for finding a house. I was excited this morning to find a new listing in the area we want, only to shrink away in horror when this popped up. We're going to look at this on Sunday. Cute, don't you think? Suspicious that it's been on the market so long though. We'll see.

Links and Asundry

  • On Wednesday we were going to the feed store to see Goliath, The World's Biggest Horse, only to find the paper was wrong (the paper that I LOVE So MUCH and would LOVE to work for!!!), and Goliath had been there the day earlier. So I took my bawling child inside to inflict some pain on their patrons with her wailing only to find that the baby chicks and ducks were in. The bawling quit and now we have to go see and hold the baby chicks every day. You'll find us there this afternoon after school. Madeleine will be the one shivering with glee. Really, she shivered she was so happy.

  • You may recall me bad-mouthing Jane Magazine. This month's issue was better and the pictures of Liv Tyler were gorgeous. In the past their photography was way too stark/edgy, a la Jil Sander or Marc Jacobs. In addition to the shoes below, they clued me in to Reporters Without Borders and, and this girls haircut, which I will hopefully be getting next Tuesday (it was just an ad for Ban, but I really dig her hair).

  • Yesterday we went ice skating and they have these little metal chair/stool things that kids can push around when they're learning to skate. If you turn them upside down Madeleine and I figured out she could sit on it and I could race her around the rink. We did it once then the Skate Monitor came over and told us we couldn't do it again. I still feel sheepish, as if I was caught shoplifting or something. He was nice about it, but still. ASSHOLE! Well, that felt good.

  • Found these in Jane and my heart pitter-pattered a little. I had to give you the image search, because no site advertising Comme Il Fault shoes will post a picture.

Then - a year ago today... can you believe the size? I can't. E.Nor.Mous.

Now - this morning... but Mom? I could still use another pedicure...

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Meeeeeemmmoorrreeeeee, life was beautiful then

I just read this headline on Yahoo news: US Survey shows autism very common
No Shit. Have you ever been to an ice cream social for the R&D department of an engineering firm?

"Oh look everyone, Neil's chocolate swirl looks like a sine curve!" calls out Fred.

"Hey has anyone seen my laser pointer?" I ask the group.
"Derivative of one half y squared!" yell out Wen-Shu and Matthew in unison.

Actually, these highly entertaining party comments are fabricated because actually everyone loads up their bowls with ice cream, not making eye contact with the people that they've worked with every day for the last 15 years and they run back to their cubicles to immerse themselves in their computer models. Yes that was my life.

Okay, now I'm being serious. I'm completely unsurprised by this 'survey.' I really was an engineer for a long time and I really did experience the characteristic antisocial behaviour by extremely intelligent men all the time. Every day. It's one of the things I miss least about my former career. Think about it the next time you need to see a particulary brilliant doctor or you watch an interview of a famous economist.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Writin Wednesday

It's a little early, but I was just doing a warm-up, playing with voices and I thought I'd share. Not the one's in my head, they're kinda shy. So I'll give you this because I'm busy revising The Valley, and no one wants to see that happen. It's ugly.

I Love Randy, That's All

I can’t help it because Randy’s shirt’s so soft and velvety and he smells so good, like cigarettes. I just want him to kiss me. His hair is real cute and curly and tangly and stuff, too. Sometimes there’s grass in it and Mrs. Dolan picks it out when we come in for recess. He tells her to knock it off because I think it hurts a little there’s so much tangles. I love Randy. Sometimes I push him a little and he throws rocks at me because we’re goin out. Yesterday when we were on the teeter totter I jumped off at the bottom and he fell hard WHACK! to the ground. He cried a little and called me a bad name but later he pushed Jeremiah out of the way so that he could stand next to me in line on the way to lunch. He told me I couldn’t ever stand by Jeremiah again and I said Okay because Randy’s my boyfriend.

Today we were playing Smear the Queer until Mr. Woodruff came out and yelled at us all to Knock it OFF! but we just kept playing behind the baseball backstop when he turned around to talk to Miss Murphy the playground monitor. When they start talkin they don’t watch nothin else so we played for the whole rest of recess and I got to tackle Randy twice. He couldn’t catch me any time I got the ball unless I let him. I let him once. He tackled me hard and I hit my shoulder on a sprinkler thing. It was bleeding real bad and he laughed a little and told me wipe it with some grass. I tried but it wouldn’t stop bleeding so I went to get Miss Murphy ‘cause she’s always got band-aids in that bag on her belt. She washed it off and when Mr. Woodruff asked me what happened I told him I fell. I can’t get Randy in trouble. We’re gonna get married someday.

Monday, May 01, 2006

My Hero

Saturday Madeleine had a playdate. It was beautiful and warm and her friend lives in a gorgeous home with a tree fort and all of the toys ever made in the whole world. Will. Her friend is Will, remember? Later she told me Will's two lovely older sisters dressed her up in some kind of fairy dress with a crown and told her she was a queen. Needless to say, she was in a coma of love and fairy enchantment when I showed up to take her home. Oh, and they had all walked a couple blocks to get ice cream right before I got there too. She was not happy to be told it was time to leave. By not happy, I mean screaming at the top of her lungs and running from me and throwing her flip flops in the pond. Um, Will's daddy? Can you turn around for a minute so you can't see the flames shooting from my nostrils while I stuff her into her carseat? The only thing that dampened the screaming and invectives was a promise to go to Million Trillion. Short for Million Trillion Video Store. You know, Blockbuster?

Phew! Hopefully Blockbuster is okay with half-naked Wild Childs, I say to myself. Because who knows where the hell the flip flops went, and Tiny's shirt was somehow torn off in the carseat struggle. Apparently they were, because we finally made it to the counter with Lilo and Stitch and something else (no matter what I said, she wouldn't be convinced that Good Night, Good Luck was a kids' movie). "Hi, uh, Mig-NON. It says here you have a $54 late fee." Um, huh? Fifty-four dollars? "Yes, fifty-four dollars. For P.S. and The Upside of Anger." Ha-ha, are you teasing me? About the Anger thing? "Teasing you? No, I'm not teasing. I'm only twelve years old with a premature pot-belly and terrible posture from my X-box addiction. I don't tease." Okay, dude, I need to talk to the manager. "Okay, uh-huh, uh-huh, TODDDDD!!!" I turn to the woman behind me and shrug and apologize. She smiles with understanding and says, "They really should be able to give you more information. Dates or something." Why yes, I think, they SHOULD dammit. I'm not sure what that would do, but I SHOULD be able to get some dates or something.

So fifteen minutes later, Todd is still starely quizzically at the computer, Quinn has completely mauled the box of popcorn and eaten 3 packets of raw kernels, Madeleine is naked climbing the sucker tower and the woman behind me has not moved to the other line, despite my urging to do so. They cut my late fee in half and are in the process of renting my movies, when finally the other line has gone away and the woman standing behind me moves to the next register. She hands the 12-year-old her movies and says in a low voice, with a nice smile, "Here, I'm giving you these movies back. I will be shopping at your competitor from now on. Not only did you not provide that woman with important information when asked to do so, but you should have helped me after it was apparent she would be taking a while. That is very poor customer service and I won't be shopping here anymore." Now tell me, isn't that the coolest? How many of you would've fumed in silent fury and thrown a complete tantrum in your car on the way home? Todd was non-plussed, when I asked him if he'd heard, but I'm making that woman my own personal hero of the week. You Go, lady in the jean capris and cream colored blouse! You GO!